THE FLASH Season 6 Episode 3 Review: Dead Man Running

There’s something inexplicably charming about watching Barry unknowingly team up with an obvious villain. Maybe it’s just seeing how open and trusting Barry remains, even after the many betrayals he’s suffered. While it does reinforce the notion that Barry is not a particularly good judge of character, but I nevertheless found his partnership with Ramsay suitably entertaining. It was reminiscent Thawne’s role in the early days of season one. Of course, Barry’s relationship with Ramsay doesn't have the time to get anything close to the development that his one with Thawne got, but even so, I appreciate that the two at least got an opportunity to relate to one another over their shared experiences with confronting death before going toe to toe as Bloodwork and Flash. Hopefully, it’s an indication we can avoid having another villain as woefully underdeveloped as Cicada. 

The Flash hasn’t only struggled in this regard with its villains-- the series has had a major Killer Frost development problem for some time. Introducing Killer Frost initially seemed like the start of a character arc exploring Caitlin’s morality, but it ended up becoming a glorified party trick that could help Barry out of a pinch and hasn’t been developed much beyond that. Interestingly, this season appears to be trying to rectify this by having Danielle Panabaker exclusively playing Killer Frost for several episodes. 

I’m not holding hope that the series has finally cracked the Caitlin/Killer Frost code after the long string of retcons and abandoned plots we've had to sit through, but it does seem like putting Killer Frost in the driver’s seat has helped her develop actual motivations. Seeing the team interact with her in the context of something like a party gives her a chance to show a side of her personality beyond snarky combatant. 

It may be too early to say, but so far it does seem this season is doing a better job of balancing its large cast than we’ve previously seen. The core team now seems to regularly into three separate missions, rather than trying to squeeze everyone into the meta of the week fight, which often blah same three lines over and over. It isn't a perfect balance-- one of these storylines ends up feeling pretty superfluous, whether it be Frost’s attempts at art last week or Ralph's family backstory this week-- but it feels like a definite step up. 

So I can't help but regard the introduction of Nash Wells with some mistrust. Tom Cavanaugh has shown himself to be a very gifted performer, and his chemistry with cast members like Carlos Valdes and Grant Gustin makes it all too easy to understand why the show’s creative team would be so reluctant to remove him from the main cast. But at this point, you have to seriously question whether working him in as an obligatory new Wells from yet another parallel earth serves him or the show? 

His last few Wells have been particularly cartoonish, no more than goofy accents and caricatures. This hardly gives Cavanaugh the chance to his acting muscles and often crowds an already large Team Flash. Which isn’t to say I’m against introducing new characters altogether; I've been very pleased at how Kamilla and Alegra have become a proper support staff for Iris. But they've both brought something new to the table. The only reason to introduce a new Wells is because the last one left. I'd much rather Cavanaugh were to move to a recurring role, where he could actually be given meaty material that make the most of his appearances, rather than risk the precarious progress the show has made in better distributing screentime for the cast.

Written by Kaitlin Roberts, THE FLASH Beat Writer